The International 2016’s main event kicked off with a blast, as Gabe Newell, Valve CEO joined the stage and said “Welcome to the International” for the sixth time. The opening ceremony consisted of a performance by famous violinist, Lindsey Stirling, cosplaying as Windranger.
Throughout the day, Kaci Aitchison’s pre-recorded and live post match interviews were played between matches that kept viewers entertained. The large pool of talent this year kept the host Paul ‘ReDeYe’ Chaloner company at the panel, and we received insight from some amazing analysts during the drafting, and gameplay commentary.
As for matches, day one of the International 2016 did not disappoint. Every match seemed to be very energetic and had some kind of backstory to it. Players give a lot to be at The International, and rightfully so as it is the biggest DOTA 2 tournament in the world. Seeing them win and lose, proves to be an emotional journey for many fans regardless of team favouritism.
As Gabe Newell said in the opening ceremony, the meta is unresolved meaning there are no certain strong individual hero picks. Due to this, teams came up with new hero combinations every match today, resulting in some amazing gameplay.
Here are the matches played today;
The upper bracket matches are best of three series, of which two were played today. Firstly MVP Phoenix vs OG, and then WINGS Gaming vs Digital Chaos. Both of these series reached three games.
MVP Phoenix vs OG
Game 1: From early to mid-game, OG seemed to be in constant advantage. QO’s Phantom Assassin found it hard to farm for core items initially, as Miracle-‘s Timbersaw was creating way too much space with his godlike streak. Because of this, OG got many early pick-offs. Unfortunately for them, MVP’s Bounty Hunter became an annoyance, and soon enough their cores caught up with OG’s, making both teams even around mid-game. Soon enough, MVP started pushing for high ground and gained a barracks advantage over OG. With Bounty Hunter creating enough space, QO went insane on his Phantom Assassin, sending heroes to their graves one crit at a time. OG had no other choice but to give them the win, despite the early advantage.
Game 2: The second game of this series had a more passive start compared to the first. MVP picked Alchemist, which was doing quite well with farm being 2x the net worth of OG’s highest. OG started to gain map control this way, and eventually attempted a push in the top lane which went unsuccessful. Their efforts bore fruit when another attempt at the top lane resulted in four of MVP’s heroes getting slaughtered. MVP had to call good game at 43 minutes and 20 seconds.
Game 3: MVP decided to go for an early game strategy by picking Axe. It seemed to work, as Forev’s Axe killed off OG’s heroes one after the other in the early game. In early skirmishes, MVP fled with low HP remaining, giving no advantage to OG. Forev was the man of the match, as he kept constant pressure on OG. Every time they would venture out to farm, they’d die. With one final team wipe, OG called gg.
Result: 2-1, MVP Phoenix advances to Round 2 of the upper bracket, and OG drops to the lower bracket.
WINGS Gaming vs Digital Chaos
Game 1: Digital Chaos managed to secure good early game momentum for themselves. Their Axe kept WINGS’s heroes on low HP and Nature’s Prophet would teleport in to finish the job. Because of this, massive amounts of space was created for DC’s Alchemist who ended up getting a 13 minute Radiance. They didn’t stay in the front lines for long, as WINGS started to gain an upper hand in terms of teamfights. DC’s Axe made some aggressive plays, due to which they slowly lost their advantage. Finding the right moment, WINGS went direct for the throne after destroying DC’s top barracks, and ended up outplaying Digital Chaos. WINGS Gaming won at 43 minutes.
Game 2: WINGS dared to do something no one else could at the main stage. They drafted Pudge and Techies for themselves. They did seem to have a strategy in mind, but were unable to replicate it practically. Their offensives trilane self-destructed, and they ended up losing any chances at winning the game.
Game 3: WINGS once again attempted a new strategy, by picking Centaur Warrunner. A hero not picked in The International 2016 before. Fortunately for them, their movements throughout the map were on point through the mid-game, and Centaur’s burst damage helped them to get the kills they would have otherwise missed. WINGS gained an easy lead on DC, and at 22 minutes they were 20-9 ahead of DC. In the end, WINGS won the series.
Result: 2-1, WINGS Gaming advances to Round 2 of the upper bracket, and Digital Chaos drops to the lower bracket.
Today was the first round of the lower bracket matches. These consist of best of one matches, and the losing team is eliminated from the tournament. Therefore, all teams gave their best in the one shot they got at advancing.
TnC vs Vici Gaming Reborn
TnC picked a more teamfight oriented draft, while Vici aimed for a traditional farming one. Sam H, playing the Batrider from TnC gave away three consecutive kills to Vici’s safelane due to positioning errors. Fortunately for TnC, their Terrorblade gained tons of farm during this. At about 30 minutes into the game, Vici Gaming Reborn was obliterated by TnC’s Terrorblade, and had to call gg.
Result: TnC advances to lower bracket round 2. Vici Gaming Reborn is eliminated in 13-16th place, taking home $100,000.
Team Secret vs LGD
LGD managed to get pickoffs easily from Team Secret. Only 15 minutes in, it was looking grim for Secret as they were down 1-10. Regardless of their situation, they didn’t give up. Pieliedie played an amazing support, sacrificing himself so his team could get the Aegis of Immortality. After a little bit of turtling, Team Secret fought back. In the longest match of today, LGD attempted to break Secret’s base multiple times unsuccessfully. Secret were unable to find kills, but kept defending. Unfortunately for them, it all came to an end as LGD went in for one final push.
Result: LGD advances to lower bracket round 2. Team Secret is eliminated in 13-16th place, taking home $100,000.
Fnatic vs Escape Gaming
Escape Gaming picked a very greedy draft. Fnatic’s Mushi started snowballing on Templar Assassin, getting one kill after another. Templar Assassin paired up with a Shadow Shaman not only got them an early Aegis, but also helped to prevent Escape Gaming’s Lifestealer from farming. Fnatic won the series without much intervention from Escape Gaming.
Result: Fnatic advances to lower bracket round 2. Escape Gaming is eliminated in 13-16th place, taking home $100,000.
Natus Vincere vs Team Liquid
Being directly invited to the event, both of these teams are fan favourites, and no one expected them to get matched together in the lower bracket. Na’Vi drafted Queen of Pain for Dendi for some early burst damage, along with Artstyle’s Enchantress. This duo did a lot of damage to Liquid in the early to mid game. Unfortunately, Team Liquid came out ahead in many teamfights in the later stages of the game. This was the result of a few sloppy mistakes by Na’Vi and some amazing tactics used by Liquid. Na’Vi tapped out at 35 minutes.
Result: Team Liquid advances to lower bracket round 2. Na’Vi is eliminated in 13-16th place, taking home $100,000.
This is what the brackets look like after today.